LOTS of Tuesday Tips: Getting Your Writing in Shape

So, whilst engaging in my early morning marketing (Okay, checking Facebook), I realized that the newest issue of WOW! Women On Writing was out. Wheee!

There are TONS of great articles, as always, but I’m a little partial to Get In Great Writing Shape for FREE! When I found all those university classes for free, I knew that info would make an exciting article. Because who doesn’t want FREE stuff?

So, I added a few more resources for FREE stuff for writers: conferences, books, professional memberships, and all those great giveaways that make me go wheee! Wheee! Wheee!

I hope you’ll go wheee, too. Because really, who doesn’t love free stuff?

Finding Something Friday on The Day of (Writing) Reckoning

I reckon it’s about time for me to take those dreams and make something happen in 2011. But before I can get started on the new year’s To Do list, I like to take a look back and see what I did right. And okay, what I did wrong, too. It’s all about reckoning…the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Yikes. Let’s start with the good. That always cheers me up…

In the Business sector, I ordered new business cards. Wheee! In fact, I ordered them twice. So, it’s a good thing that I really like my new business cards. And I worked hard in marketing, doing that whole social networking thing. Mostly, I figured out Twitter. I’m going to count that as good, too.

Under the Education goals, I wanted to get back to reading, specifically catching up with the hottest YA out there. I read 52 books (if you count the 6 picture books and 4 early chapter books)! Still, I know all about The Hunger Games trilogy and believe me, that’s a very good thing.

Organization-wise, I kept my submissions and finances up-to-date every month. The Beneficent Mr. Hall, otherwise known as the Tax Man, was mightily impressed with my good bookkeeping.

As for my Writing, I achieved a 50% rate of acceptance in the Non-fiction department. That’s good, right?

But I only sold (or placed in a contest) about 30% of the fiction I wrote. The moral of that story (to use a writer pun) is that non-fiction is easier to sell than fiction. Or I write better essays than short stories. Um, I’m going to go with the former premise.

Anyway, from a Writing viewpoint, nothing really bad popped out. Unless you count that stinky story I wrote waaaay back in January. Which I’m not.

But I had an Education goal to read at least one of my writing books per month. Honestly, I have a bookshelf full. In January, I read the The 2010 Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market. In February, I skimmed a few Writer’s Digests from 2007. So, that was pretty bad.

And in my Business goals, I determined that I should update my website quarterly. And I should. But I didn’t get around to any updating till December. Pfffft. That was bad, too.

Moving on to Organization…I don’t even want to tell you how many times I remembered to back up my files on the little flash drive thingie. (Okay, I remembered once. I’m like that little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead. When I’m bad, I’m horrid. But I did email my manuscript to myself everytime I made major revisions, so I have an inbox of almost 52 emails marked: Pen Pal, Final. Or Pen Pal, Final, FINAL. Or Pen Pal, FINAL. Part IV.)

And now, you’re probably wondering about the ugly side of 2010. I had a few goals relating to the effects of the writing life and the need for lifestyle changes in exercise and diet in order to reverse or at least ameliorate said effects.

Hmmmm. I reckon I’ll just keep those notes to myself.

(P.S. Did you achieve your goals for 2010? Before making your 2011 goals, why not take a few minutes to review the past year? Pat yourself on the back for what you accomplished, and consider whether that goal you didn’t accomplish is really that important to achieving your writing dreams. Then make a new To Do list and get started on your 2011 dream. And may your year be all good!)

May Day (and Writing Beginnings)

It’s May!

It’s May! The month of “Yes, you may!”

If you recognize those lyrics from Camelot, and can hear Julie Andrews singing “The Lusty Month of May,” then we’re probably a. pretty much the same age and b. soul mates.

But I’m bringing up that song for more than just a seeking out of similar-aged soul mates (though that’s always a pleasure, too). The truth is, I played writing hooky on the first of the month-and I’m blaming it on May Day. How can a body get writing goals and business in order when celebrating the glories of God’s green earth? Or the joys of His Mother, Mary?

(For Catholic girls back in the day, the month ushered in the May Crowning, when we’d gather bouquets of flowers or roses from our yards and file into church to lay our offerings before Mary. “Oh, Mary, we crown you with blossoms today…”, another song I want to hum on May Day.)

So, now’s it time to take out my calendar and list all my lovely writing goals. First, I’ll fill in regular gigs on their due dates. Then, I’ll take a look at a few markets or contests that I want to submit to this month, and I’ll add them to my calendar. Finally, I’ll pencil in time for work on my YA maunscript. I’ll tack my calendar on the wall next to my computer so I can keep up with the month’s objectives. It’s all very organized and scathingly professional.

Or I might just hang out in my lounge chair, drinking cherry limeade and reading some cheesy paranormal thriller. Because, hey, it’s May.

(Photo from stock.xchng)